Today I will not be posting a recipe, in fact I will not be talking about food much at all. Today marks 15 days since my mother Dawn Linda Marshall has passed away. I have finally gotten enough courage to update everyone with what I have been going through the last few months.
The doctors told mom in December that she had pneumonia but after the medication failed to work there needed to be more investigating. In Late January mom lost feeling in her left arm and my father rushed her into the hospital. They did an emergency CT Scan and found a mass on her lungs that indicated that it was most likely cancer. After seven days in hospital and a 10 day stay on the Thoracic Surgery floor in the Victoria General in Halifax her lungs were drained and she was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. Doctors were still hopeful and said that she would probably be able to have some radiation and chemotherapy. We took mom home to wait and hear when treatment may begin but sadly mom suffered a stroke and because of this she was back in hospital for stroke rehab. It was then when we discovered that my mother would be in palliative care. This news was devastating for us all.
I have been so close to my mom, no matter where I lived – Australia – Belize – Nantucket – Halifax – Montreal – Alberta – Next Door- I still spoke with her at least once a day. She was my rock, my source of inspiration, my mentor, and my best friend. Because of how close I was to my mother I couldn’t focus on anything but spending time with her. I went on a leave of absence -AND STILL AM- from enVie and Superstore and in a sense I disappeared from my normal life. I couldn’t do anything but be with her and.. sleep. I want to thank all the lovely superstore coordinators for putting up with my lack of classes and enVie for pulling together as such a strong team and letting me leave with no extra stress on my back. How blessed I am to have such understanding people in my life.
So while mom was receiving stroke rehab all we wanted was to get her home. We wanted her to enjoy her remaining time in the one and only house she ever lived in with my father and of course me and my two brothers. It took a couple of weeks but we put together a plan with a huge team at the QE11 Hospital (Nurses, Doctors, Palliative Care workers, Wecare Workers, Occupational Therapy, VON and list goes on).
On March 12th we were able to take momma home and she was able to spend 12 days at home. She had some very special days and of course some hard days. Mom wanted to have a Top Chef Canada viewing Party on that Friday so her sister, brother in law, good friends Elaine, Ron, Tammy came over for a second viewing of the show, which was so special! Mom was able to watch the first two episodes and was so proud. She showed it to every new person that came through the door too!
Besides enjoying watching episodes 1 and 2 of Top Chef she was also able to get multiple foot massages and back massages from James (my brother) and Dad but not to forget about the Visit she had from Marlana her good friend, daughter from another momma and massage therapist who also practiced a little reiki which seemed to really relax her.
A few days before her passing she was feeling so good that her friends of over 50 years from junior high came for a visit and reminisced about times they had together. That same day a neighbour of over 30 years visited and another neighbour Kyle, Michelle and their daughter Emma came for a hello. That night was just as good as that day because I was able to enjoy the movie Saving Mr. Banks with her and we even faced timed my friend from Australia.
Mom had many visits from her grandpuppy Link, Sons (my brothers), daughter in-laws (who she loved like her own daughters) and we were able to have one last family meal together that I cooked back in February. We enjoyed veggie burgers, turkey burgers, salad and organic chicken and barley soup. It is so special having that last memory of our whole family together.. even crazy Link!
So on Sunday March 23rd mom passed away holding my hand peacefully. She was surrounded by her sister Debbie, her niece Haley and my brother Luke on the phone. I do not know what I would have done If they were not there with mom and I that day. We were able to say goodbye and mom was able to go peacefully in her living room with a view of her beautiful lake as light snow fell from the sky.
My mom was the best wife my father could have ever had, the best mother my brothers and I could have wished for, the coolest friend that anyone would have been lucky to have and the most memorable teacher of all times. I was lucky enough to read her a special poem at her funeral and try to have my final goodbye of her earthly self, I say that because I know she is with me still. This is the poem I read to her :
I will wait for you…
I will wait for you…
Though we never had a chance to say goodbye,
When winter snows are falling through a quiet sky
I’ll remember you
When, in our darkest hour,
You held my hand and prayed I wouldn’t go,
But a silent voice called out to me;
My time had come, and I had to travel Home…
Since then, I know your life has never been the same,
For I visit you each day:
So many times I’ve felt your pain:
I’ve watched you cry:
And I’ve heard you call my name…
But now, further along life’s road I stand
In a timeless world, just beyond your sight,
Waiting for the day when I can take your hand and bring you across
to this land of Golden Light…
Till then, remember me, you understand-and try not to cry.
But if you do:
Let your tears fall
For the happiness and joy we knew,
And for the special love we shared,
For love can never die.
When we experience things like this in our lives we come to question what life is all about. Why are we here? And we then discover how precious life is. This experience is teaching me to try not to sweat the small stuff and to enjoy life to the fullest by surrounding ourselves with the people that matter.
So what is next for me? Well that is a little unknown but what I do know is that I will be writing my Nutrition exam for the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition at the end of the month and then will be taking the first vacation I have had in two years to the Dominican Republic at a five star resort (which has a casino and top notch nightly entertainment that my mom would have LOVED). So stay tuned and be patient with me because I am taking the next 4 weeks for myself, but I can’t wait to share food and cooking classes with you in late spring.
Thanks for reading and seeing a little deeper into my life, and live each day as if it were your last!